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The Secretary General of the Catalan Socialist Party asks the King of Spain to abdicate

Pere Navarro, the Secretary General of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), has publicly asked Juan Carlos “to resign” and ensure “a quiet replacement” in favour of the Crown Prince Felipe. According to Navarro, “a dedicated Republican”, the abdication is “necessary” and would “answer the needs of our times”. Navarro is aiming for Felipe to play “a relevant role to mediate the deep changes required in our country”. Immediately after this, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – which the PSC is part of as a federated member – rejected Navarro’s proposal and said they considered it to be “totally inadequate”. In the last few months, due to corruption scandals and other incidents, popular support of the monarchy has fallen in Spain.

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20 February 2013 10:03 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday, Pere Navarro, the Secretary General of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), publicly asked Juan Carlos I \u201Cto resign\u201D and ensure \u201Ca quiet replacement\u201D in favour of the Crown Prince Felipe. According to Navarro, who declared himself to be \u201Ca dedicated Republican\u201D, the abdication is \u201Cnecessary\u201D and would \u201Canswer the needs of our times\u201D. Navarro insisted that Spain needs a profound constitutional change, a sort of second Democratic Transition. According to him, the current King cannot face such a challenge and Navarro suggested that Prince Felipe should play \u201Ca relevant role to mediate the deep changes required in our country\u201D. Immediately after this, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) \u2013 which the PSC is part of as a federated member \u2013 totally rejected Navarro\u2019s proposal and said that they considered it to be \u201Ctotally inadequate\u201D. Since last September\u2019s massive demonstration in support of Catalonia\u2019s independence from Spain, the PSOE and the PSC have shown some public friction regarding the reform of the Spanish State and Catalonia\u2019s right to organise a self-determination referendum. However, it is the first time that a top member of the PSOE and the PSC has explicitly asked for the King of Spain to resign. Navarro chose an event organised by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce in front of many businesspeople to make his statement. He also chose the same day that Spain\u2019s main annual parliamentary debate started - the \u2018Debate on the State of the Nation\u2019, where the PSOE leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, engaged in a dialectic fight with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. Navarro\u2019s statement has partially eclipsed Rubalcaba\u2019s intervention.


The Spanish monarchy\u2019s own \u2018annus horribilis\u2019

In the last few months, popular support of the monarchy has dropped in Spain. This crisis has even affected the King, who in the past was extremely popular, according to opinion polls. The reasons for that are mostly to be found in a corruption scandal affecting the King\u2019s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, married to Princess Cristina. The scandal popped up a few years ago, but in the last few months more details have become known. This corruption scandal, in times of economic crisis, has acted as a political bomb. Furthermore, the King himself contributed to the crisis affecting the monarchy when, while many Spaniards were losing jobs and suffering from drastic budget cuts in public services, he travelled to Botswana with a female friend to participate in a safari to hunt elephants. Because the King had an accident, a medical plane had to be flown to transport him to Spain early for surgery. This case created another scandal, with international echoes, and made Juan Carlos acknowledge in public that he had made a mistake. Since that moment, the Royal House has tried to improve the King\u2019s image, but lately the monarch\u2019s intervention in the political debate regarding Catalonia\u2019s independence and especially his hipothetical implication in Urdangarin\u2019s corruption scandal \u2013 which has not been proved \u2013 have put Juan Carlos I in the spotlight again. And on top of this, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Pope Benedict XVI have resigned in the last few days, showing that abdication is an open way-out.

Pere Navarro asks for a second democratic transition, to be carried out with a new leadership

\u201CToday I openly propose the need for the abdication of the current Head of State. It should be a quiet replacement and should answer the needs of our times\u201D, stated Navarro. According to the PSC leader, if this change is not made, democracy is in danger. \u201CMany citizens could believe that what should be done is to change the very democratic system\u201D, if Juan Carlos does not resign, warned Navarro. \u201CI think they would be right if there is not a reaction on time\u201D, he added. Therefore, Navarro suggested that the Spanish monarchy should \u201Cmodernise itself\u201D and consider this to be a \u201Cchange of period\u201D. \u201CI honestly think that the role of Prince Felipe has to be relevant to mediate the deep changes required in our country\u201D, he continued. This \u201Csecond Transition has to be built on a new and modern institutional basis and in line with our times\u201D, he explained. Finally, Navarro acknowledged that his proposal was \u201Cambitious\u201D, \u201Csome can think too ambitious\u201D \u2013 he recognised \u2013 \u201Cbut today we need ambitious objectives that reflect the exceptional moment we are going through, probably the worst political moment since the democratic transition\u201D after Franco, he stated. Previous to this statement, Navarro had declared himself to be \u201Ca dedicated republican\u201D, preferring to eliminate the monarchy in Spain. However, he considered \u201CJuan Carlos I to be a good king who was one of the protagonists of the Transition in the 1970s and 1980s, and who most of the Catalans and Spaniards thank for the work he has done\u201D. However, according to Navarro, now \u201Cwe need a new Head of State to make the Transition towards the 21st century\u201D.

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  • Pere Navarro (left) talking to Miquel Valls, President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce, before his speech (by R. Garrido)

  • Pere Navarro (left) talking to Miquel Valls, President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce, before his speech (by R. Garrido)